The 2014 NFL Draft concluded on Saturday with 255 players in total taken through three days. Each team in the NFC West improved over the week and this is still the division of San Francisco and Seattle at the top.
Some draft picks will be long-term players while a few can step in right away and contribute to their respective teams. If development is done correctly, several of them can be seen on Sundays for a long time. Here is a look at each team in the NFC West with a ranking on who fared, from top to bottom:
DB Jimmie Ward - First Round
RB Carlos Hyde - Second Round
C Marcus Martin - Third Round
LB Chris Borland - Third Round
OL Brandon Thomas - Third Round (Compensatory)
WR Bruce Ellington - Fourth Round
CB Dontae Johnson - Fourth Round
OLB Aaron Lynch - Fifth Round
CB Keith Reaser - Fifth Round
CB Kenneth Acker - Sixth Round
DT Kaleb Ramsey - Seventh Round
FB Trey Millard - Seventh Round
Reason: The 49ers addressed depth all-around and a lot of this stems from acquiring picks prior to the draft. Carlos Hyde and Chris Borland are two of the players to add to the Alex Smith return package and can both be solid reserves in the present. Jimmie Ward is exactly what the team needed in a versatile and physical nickel CB or safety. They also took Aaron Lynch, who has upside when motivated and his stock only fell due to troubles off the field.
Bruce Ellington should contribute on special teams and as a part-time slot receiver while Marcus Martin will compete for the starting C job with Daniel Kilgore. Lastly, they took players for 2015 and beyond in Brandon Thomas, Keith Reaser and Trey Millard, who can be stored on the non-football injury list as they rehab coming off torn ACLs. The quantity of picks helped the team in 2014 as well as the future years afterwards.
2. St. Louis Rams
OT Greg Robinson - First Round
DT Aaron Donald - First Round
S Lamarcus Joyner - Second Round
RB Tre Mason - Third Round
S Maurice Alexander - Fourth Round
CB E.J. Gaines - Sixth Round
QB Garrett Gilbert - Sixth Round (Compensatory)
DT Mitchell Van Dyk - Seventh Round
FS C.B. Bryant - Seventh Round
DE Michael Sam - Seventh Round (Compensatory)
C Demetrius Rhaney - Seventh Round (Compensatory)
Reason: The Rams had both quantity (11 draft picks) and quality (two picks in the first round) and are only a step behind the 49ers on this draft. Greg Robinson has the most upside as he was the final part of the haul in the Robert Griffin III trade during 2012. Aaron Donald fixes their need on the interior defensive line with the Rams now having four potential starters on the front four who are highly touted. Donald could join Chris Long, Michael Brockers and Robert Quinn as one of the most dangerous lines in the NFL.
St. Louis also ended up with good secondary depth, their only defensive weakness. Lamarcus Joyner could compete with T.J McDonald for the starting job while Maurice Alexander and E.J. Gaines should see playing time down the road. RB Tre Mason is an intriguing pick to complement Zac Stacy as they both have different styles of running. Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle already had elite defenses and St. Louis could be joining the fold because of this draft.
SS Deone Bucannon - First Round
TE Troy Niklas - Second Round
DE Kareem Martin - Third Round
WR John Brown - Third Round
QB Logan Thomas - Fourth Round
DE Ed Stinson - Fifth Round
WR Walt Powell - Sixth Round
Reason: Arizona addressed their needs at safety, tight end, pass rusher and fast receiver in the first three rounds alone. Bucannon will be a hard hitting safety which create the Cardinals own "Legion of Boom" to accompany Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. Head coach Bruce Arians has an offense devoted to the tight end position being part of the foundation, which is exactly what Troy Niklas brings to the table. He is one of the best blocking tight ends and should help them immediately.
Kareem Martin is a long term, developmental pass rusher who will learn under Calais Campbell and John Brown can be a quick wideout who will stretch the field. The Cardinals want to reduce the role of Peterson on special teams, and Brown can compete with Ted Ginn Jr. for returning duties. Arians also has a knack to develop quarterbacks and Logan Thomas has all the raw tools to succeed. While he was inconsistent for his final two years at Virginia Tech, the Cardinals believe he can be their future quarterback with the right coaching.
Arizona was able to address their needs, but there weren't as many long term draft picks like the 49ers and Rams.
WR Paul Richardson - Second Round
OT Justin Britt - Second Round
DE Cassius Marsh - Fourth Round
WR Kevin Norwood - Fourth Round
LB Kevin Pierre-Louis - Fourth Round
DT Jimmy Staten - Fifth Round
OT Garrett Scott - Sixth Round
CB Eric Pinkins - Sixth Round
FB Kiero Small - Seventh Round
Reason: Seattle traded out of the first round and picked up a larger quantity of picks throughout the process. They were missing a third-round pick with the Percy Harvin trade last year. They addressed two immediate needs with Paul Richardson being a deep threat and a possible special teams replacement for Golden Tate, as well as Justin Britt, who can play RT for them. The pick of Britt is more puzzling in terms of value as most had him being taken in the fourth round or later, but Seattle liked that he can play both tackle positions.
Cassius Marsh will bring depth to an already crowded defensive line, where Seattle took three in the 2013 NFL Draft. Kevin Norwood and Kevin Pierre-Louis should compete for playing time with the former being a solid possession receiver and the latter is a quick pass rusher. Eric Pinkins could be an under the radar defensive back, who was initially a safety in college, but is expected to be a cornerback. He is 6-3, and 220 pounds, which fits their mold of a large, physical CB that is similar to Brandon Browner before him.